Quinault Indian Nation Lead Entity to Host Tour and Public Meeting on Salmon Habitat Restoration

Contact:   Steve Robinson

(360) 951-2494    


            QUINAULT, WA ( 6/10 /16) — Quinault Indian Nation, Lead Entity for Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 21, is inviting the public to participate in a public meeting regarding habitat restoration projects in Water Resource Inventory Area 21 on the evening of Thursday, June 23. The meeting will be held at the Lake Quinault Lodge from 7 pm to 9:30 pm. 
            “This will be the fourth annual public meeting, intended to provide information and answer questions about restoration and protection of our coastal rivers and streams that provide habitat for our naturally spawning salmon,” said QIN President Fawn Sharp. President Sharp will be on hand as a guest speaker.
            Members of the QIN Lead Entity Salmon Habitat Restoration Team will present updates about salmon habitat restoration efforts in the Quinault and Queets river systems. Featured projects include upper Quinault River Restoration and the Hurst Creek Rehabilitation Pilot Project.
            “This is an opportunity to learn about projects intended to restore physical and biological processes that improve salmon and steelhead habitat,” said Bill Armstrong, Habitat Management Scientist and Lead Entity Coordinator for the Quinault Indian Nation.
            “Salmon are an essential resource to our local communities and we are committed to restoring habitat they must have to return to our waters,” said President Sharp. “We are fully aware of the importance of developing and maintaining good, positive relations with our neighbors in the process of achieving this critically important objective. It is particularly important for us to be supportive of one another and work together,” she said.
            Speakers at the June 23 meeting include Bill Armstrong, Quinault Division of Natural Resources, Leif Embertson of Natural Systems Design, Dr. Kevin Fetherston of R2 Resource Consultants, Jill Silver of the 10,000 Year Institute, and Kyle Smith of The Nature Conservancy. Topics will include engineered log jams and salmon habitat responses, floodplain forest restoration, and non-native plant management. Steve Robinson of SR Productions and Public Relations Coordinator for Quinault Indian Nation will emcee the meeting.
            A tour of habitat restoration projects will precede the community meeting. The public is invited, but are asked to RSVP by June 20 by emailing Robinson at Water4fish@comcast.net.
            Lake Quinault Lodge is located at 345 South  Shore Rd., Quinault. Light refreshments and coffee will be served.

Stillaguamish Tribe sponsors salmon habitat restoration on Cherokee Creek

Coho salmon swim in newly restored habitat in Cherokee Creek.
Coho salmon swim in newly restored habitat in Cherokee Creek.

Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, http://nwifc.org

The Stillaguamish Tribe recently partnered with the state Department of Natural Resources Family Forest Fish Passage Program to restore access to Cherokee Creek, near Darrington.

Cherokee Creek provides spawning, rearing and refuge for coho and other species of Pacific salmon, as well as cutthroat and bull trout. However, the creek also was home to a deteriorating metal culvert that had been poorly installed and was too small to withstand floods.

“The culvert had created an artificial waterfall that was too high for salmon to swim or jump past on their way upstream,” said Scott Rockwell, Forest and Fish biologist for the tribe. “It was also interfering with natural stream ecology, interrupting the downstream movement of water, fallen trees and gravel.”

The Family Forest Fish Passage Program replaced the culvert with a steel bridge and an 80-foot-long section of stream channel that restored fish access to more than a mile of productive spawning habitat. The state program helps small forest landowners comply with forest practice rules by covering 75-100 percent of the cost of eliminating stream barriers.

At a fall event celebrating the project’s completion, many coho salmon swam through the restored area.

“Their genetic compasses guided them back to habitat that had not been accessible for years,” said Washington State Forester Aaron Everett, who worked on the project.

As a project sponsor, the Stillaguamish Tribe conducted landowner outreach, collected habitat data, provided matching project funds, and managed project design, construction oversight, permitting and billing.

Cherokee Creek is a spawner index stream for coho salmon. For the past 12 years, Stillaguamish natural resources staff have documented the number and location of spawning adults and redds (egg nests) to help forecast the size of future coho runs.

For more information about the state’s Small Forest Landowner Office, visit www.dnr.wa.gov/sflo.